Irish Pro Continental team Aqua Blue Sport have announced the signing of New Zealand rider Shane Archbold for the 2018 season.
The 28-year-old, a native of Timaru on the country’s South Island, joins Aqua Blue Sport from German outfit BORA-hansgrohe, with whom he has helped Irishman Sam Bennett to three consecutive stage wins this week in the Presidential Tour of Turkey.
Known to many as ‘the Flying Mullet’, Archbold has recently returned to top-level cycling following an injury sustained in the 2016 Tour de France. His road palmarès include 10th place on Stage 6 of that edition of Le Tour, 5th in that year’s Baloise Belgium Tour, 2nd in the 2015 Classica Corsica and 2nd on Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour of Britain. More recently Archbold has underscored his full rehabilitation with 7th in the 2017 Coppa Bernocchi held on September 14 last.
With a strong track background, Archbold’s skill and power in the leadout will bolster Aqua Blue Sport’s strength in sprint finishes.
Team General Manager Stephen Moore said he was a welcome addition. He said: “Shane has demonstrated great resilience in returning to form following a spell of rehabilitation and since coming back to racing has shown a resurgence of the kind of ability that brought him to the WorldTour. We are delighted to have him on board for 2018 and look forward to taking advantage of his strengths.”
For Archbold, the prospect of a full racing programme with a new team represents an ideal opportunity.
He said: “Having been through a challenging period of my career hampered by injury, I am ready to move on to the next chapter. I have followed the progress of Aqua Blue Sport with interest and believe the team to be an excellent fit for my future ambition. I look forward to a fresh start, to getting to know my new teammates and to some exciting racing in 2018.”
Archbold is the third new signing to be named on the Aqua Blue Sport squad for 2017, with Irish prospect Eddie Dunbar and Dane Casper Pedersen, Under 23 European Road Champion, both previously confirmed to be joining as neo-professionals.